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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Extra (08/29/13)

TITLE: Why You're So Different
By Steven Dexheimer


Tyler closed his American history textbook with a slam. He should have given up studying fifteen minutes ago. That was when he had first realized that he had been reading the same paragraph over and over and not taking in a word of it. The test was next period, and Tyler wasn’t ready.

Having brought a bag lunch, Tyler was the first of his friends to sit at their usual table in the high school cafeteria. Unfortunately, this left him conspicuously alone. Sitting alone in the cafeteria was never a good thing. People tended to notice these things. To prove his own point, his gaze was drawn to another solitary figure who was reading a couple tables away. It was the new girl, Hannah. Tyler had several classes with her this semester, but he never really talked to her. There was something different about her that intrigued him, but he really couldn’t put a finger on it. Hannah was pretty; not pretty like some of the more popular girls, but she had a more natural beauty. She seemed friendly, confident and smart, at least in class.

“Hey,” his friend Andrew said, sliding into the seat across from Tyler. He glanced at the textbook. “Ready for the test?” Tyler made a noncommittal noise.

“About as ready as you are,” he replied, still looking in Hannah’s direction.

“Then you’re in trouble,” Andrew grinned and took an enormous bite of a slice of pizza. Tyler’s gaze drifted from Andrew back to Hannah. Andrew noticed the look and glanced behind him. He grinned roguishly.

“Ah, checking out the new girl, I see.” Normally, Tyler would be blushing and stammering at this kind of remark, and flatly denying any interest in any girl, especially someone like Hannah. However, Tyler’s curiosity overcame his bashfulness.

“What do you think about her?” He asked. Andrew turned back to look at Tyler and shrugged.

“She’s all right, I guess. She’s no super model.”

“I don’t mean just looks,” Tyler said. “There’s something different about her.”

“Well yeah, she’s sitting by herself. What does that tell you?” Tyler sighed.

“I don’t know. It’s just that she has something…” Tyler trailed off, trying to think of an appropriate description. Finally, he came up with “…extra.”

“She has ‘something extra’?” Andrew asked, bemused. “What does that even mean?”

“I don’t know,” Tyler repeated. “I can’t figure it out. It’s like she has this…glow about her.”

“Now she’s glowing?” Andrew shook his head. “What do you think she is, an angel?” Tyler started to reply, but Andrew held up his hand. “Look, lunch is over in ten minutes. Now you can either obsess about this girl, or you can go talk to her and find out what the deal is.”

“Oh…I can’t just…talk to her. I mean, what am I going to say?”

“You’ll think of something. Now go over there before she sprouts angel wings and flies away.” Tyler looked at Hannah, took a deep breath, and stood.

“All right, I’ll go talk to her.”

“What a brilliant idea,” Andrew said with a smirk. “Wish I had thought of that.”

With his heart pounding, Tyler slowly made his way toward Hannah. He had no idea what he was going to say to her. "Excuse me Hannah, could you tell me why you’re so different?" Brilliant. Her back was turned, unaware of Tyler’s approach. He noticed her open book bag sitting beside her. Among a couple of textbooks, another book was nestled in the bag. He glanced in and saw with surprise that the book was a Bible. She brings a Bible to school? That’s definitely not normal. It was at this point that Hannah looked up and noticed Tyler.

“Hi,” she said. Tyler’s eyes snapped guiltily away from the bag.

“Uh…hi. Um…” Tyler’s mind went completely blank as he looked at Hannah and noticed her bright green eyes. There really was something extra there, Tyler thought.

“You’re Tyler, right?” Hannah asked. Tyler just nodded. After an awkward pause, Hannah gestured to the seat across from her. “Would you like to sit down?” Tyler nodded again and moved mechanically to the chair. “So, what brings you to my table, Tyler?” And Tyler blurted out the only thing that was running through his mind.

“Excuse me Hannah. Could you tell me why you’re so different?” Tyler could have kicked himself, but Hannah just gave him a radiant smile.

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Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 09/05/13
Loved this adorable story, I was rooting for the MC and his awkward moment to go well.

Nicely done, and spot on topic. Great job.

God bless~
Joanne Sher 09/09/13
Great approach to the topic - enjoyed the dialogue especially. Eager to find out what Hannah said :)
PamFord Davis 09/11/13
I would not be the slightest bit surprised if your piece ends up in the Winners Circle, great example of show-not-tell.

Wing His Words
C D Swanson 09/12/13
Congrats! God Bless~
PamFord Davis 09/12/13
congratulations, Steven!